Major Customs operation leads to welfare donation
In 2014 an operation was carried out in which two brothers were found smuggling over 700 pieces of clothing from China with well-known trademarks. The pair was caught by the Uruguayan Custom’s Response and Intelligence Group (GRIA). The pieces of clothing were afterwards resold through different Internet websites to the consumer public, either as original or fake products.
The sellers had a warehouse or deposit, and distribution center in Pocitos, a neighborhood in the Capital City of Montevideo, from where the buyers would pick up the items. When the GRIA officers identified this place, a major operation took place, and over 700 infringing products were confiscated, and the perpetrators faced the criminal legal actions included in the Trademarks Act.
Approximately two years later and after a resolution of the Criminal Court of Uruguay, on July 22, 2016, all the infringing products were donated by the Custom’s Authority to the National Rehabilitation Institute; after the removal of all trademarks, logos and devices from the articles. The National Rehabilitation Institute is the Uruguayan authority in charge of the national prison system, which aims to rehabilitate and reintegrate the prisoners into society through specific work and education programs.
This way, in a surprising and successful effort, the infringing products were not destroyed, as happens in most cases but were rather destined to a greater good, while still protecting the rightholder’s intellectual property prerogatives.